Thursday, January 29, 2015

Small Success Thursday.... Sigh...

Is God in control of your life, or are you? Does He have your permission to take you where He wants to, or are you the control freak who wants Him in the car but won’t let Him steer?  -from Tweet Inspiration

Happy Thursday.

This week. we are

The good thing about life is we all know it's GOOD and BAD! If someone says all the time, Life is Great. They are delusional or just lying. It's ok as it is their choice.

This week, we are sick. We've been fighting it for a week. We are sinus-challenged by genetics. HA I remember all the "hay fever" comments growing up. "It's worse in the morning!" House full of snorers, etc. For me, my septum looks like a winding river. No I will not have surgery. None of it was formed right, but with my luck, they'd poke my eyes out. LOL  I actually spent last weekend with fever and in bed... mostly!

However, I'm blaming Marque for this plague. HA! Seriously - for the first time in FOUR years, our doctor's office did not fit us in. For the first time in nine years Marque came home from work and stayed home yesterday and today. So, he went to the Minute Clinic yesterday. The very nice Nurse Practitioner said his sinuses were swollen, soft palette too, throat was raw... which is why she did not do a strep test AND sent him home with Flonase and a solution that would numb his throat. Sigh. We have been using Essential Oils, honey lemon, gargling with salt water.... but people, we may just need Antibiotics. WAAH!

This week, my cousin's husband finally succumbed to the cancer that has been ravaging him. It is devastating for all of us. My husband was planning to go to TN to represent us, but can't because he's sick.

I will say this, we are so blessed to have our Catholic Faith. God is so good and faithful to us. He is with us always. Whether we are sick or struggling. We can not be sad and miserable. How can we, if we read about the Saints and what they suffered. Must be positive... and march on!
 “The Lord, your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives you the victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on a day of festival” (3:17).
I come from a time where we were taught to count our blessings. This is why I am writing this post. But you did not come here for all that blah blah...  Anyway, I am linking up with the ladies at for Small Success Thursday.

Small Successes for this week...

  • Getting dressed daily (ok, except for today, so far, I am still in my nightgown).

  • My house is relatively clean.

  • My child is old enough to dress himself and cook basics (thank you God).

  • We got a lot of school done (except for today).

  • Essential Oils do seem to be helping.

  • Plenty of Freezer Food -

    • I had turkey soup in the freezer and my new toaster rocks out some cheesy toast. LOL

    • We have honey wheat bread in the freezer.

    • We have breakfast food in the freezer.

  • My husband actually stayed in bed and did not work yesterday (can't seem to say that for today).
And now, I'm going to have grits for breakfast. I'm not hungry, but Marque made them... so I figure I should eat a little.

I plan on coloring images and putting together a few cards today. I will let ya know.

I hope your weekend is great.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pantry Challenge - Week 4

If you’re confused as to why God would die for you, you either need to rethink your vision of His mercy or of your own worth. - from Tweet Inspiration

Happy Sunday All!

As usual, it's Sunday evening here. It was a cool and sunny day in North Texas. We are all fighting NOT to get sick. Pray for us.

As you all know, I've been playing along in the Pantry Challenge with Jessica and the other ladies who are playing along.  This is technically the last week of the challenge, but we have easily two more weeks of food, so I'll probably continue even when the others drop off.

——WEEK 3——


Example of using what I have: One of the things I love about Pantry Challenge is the using what I have, principle. Tonight, along with the Chicken we are having for dinner, I decided that we'd have sweet potato wedges. I looked for a healthy recipe. I found this one: Oven Roasted Sweet-Potato Recipe

In the spirit of using what I have - I don't have dry mustard because it's part of what I had to toss as the pantry challenge started. So in my recipe, I used deli mustard, organic olive oil, fresh dried rosemary and basil, garlic powder and salt/pepper.

Asking for help from my husband and son: they have helped me prep for many meals.

Used the Good Cheap Eats Website and looked up Turkey Enchiladas. No, I don't get a kickback. I love her recipes... as you know.

What did I change.... WELL - hahaha.  I did not have black beans. So I added leftovers from the bell peppers (yellow, red and green). I also used three cups of turkey left over from the turkey we made Monday. I just cut it small. Here is what I did:  Cut up about six green onions, maybe three or four inches of their stalks.  Sautéed that and a heaping table spoon of minced garlic in a pan. Chopped the bell pepper (close to a cup), and added salsa, a cup of water and an envelope of taco seasoning mix. I just let it cook until the mixture was thick, not runny.
There is a part of the recipe that tells you how to soften the corn tortilla, DO THIS. My husband did not think it was necessary... BUT, it is, because they broke a little. BUT this did not deter my family from eating them… it would just look prettier. LOL
We made two pans of the enchiladas. Then we put extra meat mixture on top. Baked it for about 35 minutes. Topped with Avocado and light sour cream. Here they are:




  • Sticking to the menu. But in a way, I can't help it because we have so much leftover.

  • Our Pantry is starting to look great. HOWEVER, we have added to our freezer.

    • Turkey breast and leg.

    • Two family dinners worth of turkey soup.

    • Doubled up on honey-wheat bread and now we have enough bread that I may not have to bake this week.

  • I had an epic fail when I did not pay attention and over-salted the roasted veggies. They would have been so good too. I had carrots, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant. I put what the recipe called for - but it was so bad, my salt-loving husband wouldn't eat it and we tossed.

——WEEK 4——



  • Sunday (Tonight) – Grilled Chicken, sweet potato wedges, green veggies.

  • Monday – Beans & Rice

  • Tuesday – spaghetti & meatballs

  • Wednesday – Turkey Enchiladas (from the freezer)

  • Thursday –leftovers

  • Friday – Fish Tacos

  • Saturday – Burgers (??) In the interest of full disclosure, I may change my mind on this. I have ground beef and I may just make a shepherd's pie. I'll keep ya posted.

Breakfasts:  Egg wraps. Blueberry muffins. Zucchini Bread. Yogurt. Lunches:  Tuna salad. PB&J. Leftovers. Soup. Snacks:  Fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, popcorn.

SPENDING – This week, we did not go grocery shopping. My husband did pick up fabric softener and toilet paper on base... but not at the grocery.

WAIT - I did shop @ Vitacost and Keurig. I spent about $90 between the two. I bought Masa Harina  (so I can make fresh Corn Tortillas), flour, spices and organic cleaners. That is what happens when you shop on the Internet!

I have really been enjoying this. It's a challenge. I mean, I am a meal planner. But what this has taught me is that I have way too much ingredients here.

Oh and did I tell you our toaster died? Well, it did. And so, we got a new toaster oven? Meet Fancy..

FullSizeRender 4

We love her. Christopher thought she was for him. He's heated up pizza we made last week and several other things.

And with that, I’ve gotta get going.

Love, Hugs & Blessings…

Happy Frugal-Pantry-ing!


Friday, January 23, 2015

7QTF - "Home" School

JANUARY 23, 2015
"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."
– St. Augustine

Today is a beautiful day in Fort Worth. It's 50 & sunny and we have a fire going... a) because we love a good fire and b) because it will be in the 30's later. So - we are enjoying the warmth it gives, saving our heater from running...


I don't link up with 7QTF very much, so I thought I'd join in.  You can find the linked up blogs over at This Ain't The Lyceum 


We ditched formal school today. HA However, I submit my seven reasons my homeschooler still got school in today! You're welcome... just in case you want to use them!

1) Analytical Thinking. We are working on a beautiful puzzle. And just in case you don't know, it is too school. Proof that Puzzles Are Good For Students!
Jigsaw puzzles are excellent brain training and co-ordination improvement tools and are quite fun! In particular, they develop your abilities to reason, analyze, sequence, deduce, logical thought processes and problem solving skills. These types of puzzles also improve hand-eye co-ordination and develop a good working sense of spatial arrangements. In schools and other training establishments, jigsaw puzzles are extensively used as learning aids.

st peters basilica

2) Science. We watched a Falcon stalk a song-bird in our bushes. Ok Ok - I was focused on the falcon. I ran to get our camera. And as I go to the window, it had launched from our tree, and plucked the little bird out of the bushes. Then my son called his daddy and proceeded to look Falcons up. We concluded it was a Falcon because it 1) ate a songbird and 2) killed it with his/her beak. (Hawks catch with talons). And voila - we have science.

3) Math. We are making bread. AND we doubled the recipe. Math that tastes good is always a plus. The Honey Wheat Bread from an old acquaintance never fails.

4) Culinary Arts. See bread above. AND toss in the shrimp, broccoli and pasta the student is cooking this evening.

5) Custodial Engineering. The boy is vacuuming as we speak. His bed is made. His playroom is reasonable.

6) P.E. Two miles on the treadmill and weight work when daddy gets home.

7) Reading. Two chapters of his book report book. He also answered questions. YAY.

Now, ya'll have a great rest of your day. And don't be afraid to have school in an unconventional way.

My bread is rising and it's almost time to bake.

Many blessings this weekend.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Are You Sheenazing...

"One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain."
– St. Anthony of the Desert

I think so.

I have a love-hate relationship with awards. You see, there are always people left out. And that makes me sad. Because we all pour our hearts out and talk about our lives... and in that soft part of my heart, I want everyone to win.

15 Nominee SA

I am honored, SO HONORED that three or more people took the time to nominate me for the Sheenazing Award. But the truth is, I'm no more deserving than any other blogger. Check out the LINKS to the nominees HERE.

Would I like your vote to win? Part of me wants it. But I have to be honest, I think    the winners should be on the below list. Except for the categories of blogs I've never read or been to, I think I've chosen well. We shall see.

Funniest Blog
This Ain't the Lyceum
Mama Knows, Honeychild

Best Looking Blog

Catholic All Year
Like Mother, Like Daughter

Most Inspiring Blog

Passionate Perseverance
Our Home Under Mary's Mantle
Mama Needs Coffee
Amongst Lovely Things

Best Lifestyle Blog

A Slice of Smith Life
Catholic All Year

Best Under-Appreciated Blog

Equipping Catholic Families
Campfires and Cleats

Smartest Blog

Designs by Birgit

Coolest Blogger
Kelly from This Ain't the Lyceum
Kendra from Catholic All Year

Miss Congeniality

Tracy from A Slice of Smith Life
Chris at Campfires and Cleats

Best Podcast

The Jennifer Fulwiler Show
Taylor Marshall

Best Vlogger

Jenna at Call Her Happy
Ana from Time Flies When You're Having Babies

Best Blog by a Man

Brandon Vogt
Joe Sales Says

Best Blog with Multiple Contributors*
Catholic Bloggers Network

Best Blog by a Non-Papist
I don't know any of these blogs. Sorry.

Additionally, I'd like to take an opportunity to introduce you to a couple of blogs. Some you may read. All you should read. And some who need to blog more often... cough cough :

Please also check out Bonnie's Blog A Knotted Life. She has a special relationship with the Venerable Fulton Sheen. READ THIS AMAZING STORY.

Let me state for the record that I am in no way a blogging or a Catholic expert. But I do have preferences and that is what my choices above are about. IF I didn't choose them, it's probably because I don't read them. You know?

Ya'll have a great rest of your Tuesday.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,


Monday, January 19, 2015

Moments... Em's DayBook

Daybook – 2015, Vol. 2

No one listens willingly to someone who speaks to them from a position of self-righteousness and judgment. Again and again in the Gospels, Jesus reserves his harshest words for those who ignore their own weakness in order to lord it over others.  ~ from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

Happy Monday All!

By the time you read this, it's Monday evening... I had a lot to do today... my apologies.

I hope you had a great weekend. We did. As I posted yesterday, we had windows open and let the house air out. We are so blessed to be able to do that certain day sin Winter. It gets very cold here (not usually in the minus range, but cold enough), and to be able to open your windows is a gift we don't take for granted.

Even Fred sat outside for hours. It just felt so good.

[caption id="attachment_5253" align="aligncenter" width="395"]IMG_0349 Fred hangs outside.[/caption]

Today is MLK Day, and my student informed me that his friends all had the day off. Soooo---We have a day off school. I will be lesson planning and organizing. lol What, you thought a mama/teacher gets a day off?   Ok, yes, I am typing this in my PJ's. No, I have not made my bed or really done much else. HA!


Thankful For

  • Sunny Days. God Bless the Sun!

  • My husband

  • Silly Christopher

  • Our Catholic Faith

  • My friends & extended family

  • Paper crafting...

  • Being Nominated for a Sheenazing Award.  In the Most Inspiring Category. HA! I just can't believe it.

I KNOW! Can you believe it? I do hope to inspire and be well-liked. And I'm just so honored to even be nominated. I truly hope Passionate Perseverance Wins in our Category. I've never been so touched by a blog... well, not in a while. Check her out.  I will post my favs tomorrow. Check back then!

I am thankful for many things. My list is endless. I just try to keep it interesting.

Thinking About

It's Martin Luther Kind Day. At times, I am both thrilled, and dismayed at the way in which our country still handles race-relations. Why we need "race relations" is beyond me. Why people can not be given equal chance as an American Citizen, regardless of color..... is BEYOND ME! And you know what, Good "Christians", it's not ok with God if you treat people differently because they look different or go to a different Church. Judge not, lest ye be judged! Our constitution guarantees all American Citizens many rights, and they are not based on race/religion. So why can't the good people of America just BE NICE! We call ourselves Christians. Let's act like it...  Hmmph

There was a discussion on FaceBook about why we have National Holidays.  It prompted me to do a little research (you're welcome) and here is what I found:


This time of year is relaxed at home. it's "Winter. So I am busy planning Spring, "when we get our tax return", projects. We really need to get some things serviced and done around here.

Check out The Marriage Monday post about being on the Same Team. I did not know that Elizabeth had started this back up. I'm happy to say Marque and I are on the same team about most things. We have an occasional "penalty" here and there. But we are a great team.

What am I talking about? She uses a sports reference to guide us this week. Ya'll do not know how much I love her Monday posts. I always learn from them. Today, I learned I/we am on the right track... and that marriage is like running a great team! love that. Thanks Elizabeth!

In Our Kitchen…

We are entering our 3rd week of the Pantry Challenge. We are loving it. We made some mistakes and did some things right... Check our post out HERE.

Today, I made a turkey. My house smells great.

 In Our School…

Well, we have a lot to do.

Christopher is not taking school as seriously as I'd like him to. He got a 70 on a Math test. I was furious. It was stupid mistakes... like adding a problem where it said subtract or not carrying the one. Sigh. CRAZY! So I made him redo the whole test.  And I told him if he was not going to concentrate for me and get himself together that he'd find himself in Public School next year.

He almost cried. And he said, "but mom, they don't even have religion there. I mean if I prayed at lunch, they'd make fun of me. You can't do that!"

I told him I don't want to do it. But things have to change. I have to change too. I get that parts of it are me. I'm soft on him and then TOO Hard. Not enough gray. You know? Happy to get good advice in comments.

To be clear. I mean it. I'm not going to fight him. I won't.

We took the day off on Friday of last week. And we took the day off today. But we will get it all done. Trust me!

Praying For…

  • Health…

    • my husband’s especially.

  • Our lack of stick-to-it!

  • Finances

  • Families who suffer loss, especially those

    • who suffer terrorists.

    • where parents lose children.

  • Our World.

  • Our Pope and Clergy.

  • For more joy in the little things…

  • The softening of people’s hearts!

  • Homeschoolers who have their children removed for no reason in the USA! Sigh. I've seen several articles lately - SCARY!


[caption id="attachment_5252" align="aligncenter" width="324"]10941316_10206341662766889_7442583082464465970_n Watching Downton Abbey.[/caption]

You do have a tiara too right? Hee hee

Today, I am linking up with:

Have a great rest of your day all.

Love, hugs & blessings,


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pantry Challenge - Week 3

If we have been saved and sustained by a love so deep that death itself couldn’t destroy it, then that love will see us through whatever darkness we are experiencing in our lives. ~ from Pope Francis and our Call to Joy

Happy Sunday All!

Today was absolutely beautiful here. Really all weekend was. My guys worked outside and I worked inside... Um... for all my friends up North, look away... it was sunny today. We barely need any lights on. I even opened the back door. Um - we need to replace the old storm door so I don't have to open my back door wide. But it felt sooo good and it was bright. LOVE! This is the view from the couch.


As you all know, we are participating in the Pantry/Freezer Challenge (in this post she tells how she is doing so far and what's coming this week) at Good Cheap Eats.


Used what we have.  We made bread and are using our grains and such. That feels good. Our pantry is still pretty stocked though. Clearly we had too much. HA  What I really love is that we are eating very healthy.


  • It's hard to stick to the menu because I don't want to toss leftovers.

  • We did order Chinese food one night...  In my defense... well, I messed up. There is no excuse. Sigh.

  • Doing more prep work.

  • Communicating. Like if the 11 year old would tell us when he uses the last of things.  Of course, I need to cross things off the list that I've used too.

------WEEK 3------

[caption id="attachment_5247" align="aligncenter" width="345"]IMG_0351 Stuffed Peppers & Meatloaf.[/caption]

Today, I got a jump on the week. We seasoned the turkey for tomorrow. We made meatloaf for later this week. I wasn't going to, but I had so much meat leftover from the stuffed peppers, instead of making meatballs (which is what I usually do (#freezeraddict), Marque asked that I make a meatloaf. And he asked me to make it tonight in case he wanted a meatloaf sandwich. HA


In our produce basket we got some interesting stuff.  The volunteers were all excited when I was talking about it. I mean - if all you can justify spending money on is dairy and produce... you get a little excited at a produce co-op.

I have cool stuff to work with this week. Spaghetti squash, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, apples, papaya, pineapple, lemons, limes, carrots, kale, green beans and much more...

  • I cleaned and cooked the green beans.

  • I dried the herbs in the dehydrator.

And I'm trying to figure out what to do with one beet, one papaya, and one pomegranate. LOL   I need to be more adventurous. Pray for me!

The rest is just normal fruits & veggies. I may even try to make some apple crisps for snacks.... or something.



  • Sunday (Tonight) – Stuffed Peppers (1 pan for now, 1 for freezer (4 to a pan)).

  • Monday – Turkey Dinner

  • Tuesday – Meatloaf

  • Wednesday – Turkey Enchiladas

  • Thursday –Leftovers

  • Friday – Shrimp

  • Saturday – Burgers

Breakfasts: Muffins, Cinnamon bread, Cereal, Oatmeal, Eggs, Yogurt... plenty of choices there.  Lunches: Chicken Salad, leftovers and whatever else we can find. Snacks:  Fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, popcorn.

SPENDING – This week, we needed dog and cat food. And we also bought a few cleaning supplies. We are really proud that we stuck to our list.  We also got milk, orange juice, eggs, paper goods, and a few things we really needed (not want). We spent around $100.00.  So far, we are under $200... even if you add the Chinese Food.

Overall, I think it is going really well.

My goal. No ordering out this week...

And with that, I've gotta get going.

Love, Hugs & Blessings...

Happy Frugal-Pantry-ing!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Small Success Thursday - Odds are..

JANUARY 15, 2015
"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?"  ~ St. Andrew Kim Taegon

Happy Schmappy Thursday.

What do you do when bad news looms.. you know, while you are waiting for the sunshine to pop out from under the raincloud?

Me - I clean. Cook. Bake. And this week, I am so happy to be taking part in the Pantry Challenge. It's saving my sanity.

[caption id="attachment_5239" align="aligncenter" width="465"]pumpkinchocbread Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Swirl Cake[/caption]

Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Swirl Cake

The Odds are... my husband will be fine. But I am scared. I can't give details this publicly for now.... but they are scanning his brain. HA! I will keep you posted.

Please pray!


My small successes...

1) We are doing very well on the Pantry Challenge. Have not even spent $75 on dairy/produce. We are trying new things. We are really enjoying being in the kitchen together. GO US!

2) My husband and I went on a date this past Saturday. We rarely do that. IT was awesome.  This is a huge success because we rarely leave Christopher with anyone. We are blessed with good people in our lives.

3) We played Sorry and I won. Ok - I know what you are thinking... SO WHAT! HA.. I never win. So it's a success I tell you.

4) I grounded my son from the Xbox and meant it. Ok - again, not impressive in your world, but he's GOOD ya'll.... at manipulating his mama. I love him... but still.

I am sure there are way more small successes.  Like, this week I didn't cut myself with a sharp kitchen utensil, but I have to go clean my kitchen before I go to bed...

Oh - and another success, getting this post done. You're welcome!

Hugs & Blessings,



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Try A New Recipe Tuesday - Soup Tuesday

We are so consumed with the things of the created world that we forget that there even is a creator! This is the essence of idolatry. We gladly follow anything other than a God who makes demands on us and tell us what to do with our money, our bodies, our time… our lives.  ~ from Zealous

Happy Tuesday!

I hope you are all doing well. Yesterday I had a spinal injection and besides feeling like someone hit me in the back, it's great. HA lol I hope the next few go better.

There is NO rest for the weary. As you know, I am participating in the Pantry Challenge. So, today, I made a loaf of bread. As usual, we let it cool, cut one small slice and all tasted a bit. <3

Today we finally had to go buy dairy.  And by we, I mean Marque... on the way home from work. I love that man. So, here is my list:

  • Regular Grocery:

    • Corn tortillas (I’m making chicken tortilla soup)  - small pack.

    • tomato paste (2 small cans)

    • Can of Canola Spray (pan)

    • Small chili powder (the small round ones)

  • Dairy:

    • 10 yogurts

    • 1 pack cheese sticks

    • 1 pack cheese slices

    • 1 milk

    • 1 creamer

    • butter tub

    • 2 cartons of eggs

  • Produce:

    • cilantro

    • lettuce

    • bananas

It was less than $50. And if you go back to my post from Sunday, you will see that I have changed our menu. Yesterday because of my procedure, Marque made chicken strips. They were yummy! Today, I made Chicken Tortilla Soup, a la Pioneer Woman. SO GOOD!

[caption id="attachment_5228" align="aligncenter" width="472"]tortilla soup3 We love our soup cups (cappuccino originally).[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5230" align="aligncenter" width="350"]tortilla soup Marque likes his with extra jalapeño.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5229" align="aligncenter" width="339"]tortilla soup2 Extra soup for a couple friends.[/caption]

This is the first time I've ever made it. It's so good. That is why I am linking up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday @ Home to 4 Kiddos.


Oh, and I have a funny story. As you can see, on my list, I said I needed Corn Tortillas. Somehow to my love, it translated to "tortilla chips". HA! In the end, they were fine. But it was funny.

Next week, I will be ordering some Masa Harina and will soon be making my own corn tortillas. <3

Thanks for stopping by!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Moments... Em's DayBook

Daybook - 2015, Vol. 1

JANUARY 12, 2015
"If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything."
– St. Bonaventure

Happy Monday All!

We had a great weekend here at Maison Davis! We got some potentially bad news on Friday. Not ready to blog it yet. Sorry about that. We did a little praying and crying and more praying... and then we enjoyed our weekend. We are blessed to know how good God is. And we take refuge in Him.

We had a fire going all day Friday and Saturday. Don't you just love a roaring fire? We do...

Saturday evening my sweetie and I went on a date. Our friend Andi watched our boy... and we went to see Selma (a must see) and then went to BJ's.


I had a great spinach salad and he had a burger.  But mostly, we took a rare few hours to just us. It was nice.

Thankful For

  • My husband

  • Our Children & Grandchildren

  • Our Catholic Faith

  • My friends & extended family

  • My relationship with Our Holy Family because of my faith.

  • Rain

  • Fireplaces roaring because it's cold outside.

  • New cable knit blankets for all.

Thinking About

About Selma.. and how UGLY the "Christian" Whites were back then. My husband, naturally upset by the film, kept saying "why didn't' they fight back more?  There were more of them! I do not understand why the blacks did not fight more." And I told him because they were the ones being Christian. They wanted to do it the right way. OK - not all of them, but more good than bad, for sure.  This part of our history is so embarrassing. Here are a couple articles on Selma. Equally embarrassing is the greed of the King Children. How sad their father would be...

About Our Country.... I've been thinking a lot about the good old US of A. I really try not to say too much negative about our President. I know his job is hard. But yesterday, when all those World Leaders stood in unison with France, there was a gaping hole - AGAIN. Our lack of a good leader stood out like a big, giant, sore thumb! We really need to collect ourselves as a country and get our value-system right. And it shows very brightly in our domestic policy arena.

About this Quote from Franciscan Media...Today we worship things like social media, movies, sports, food, and entertainment. These are the idols that presently enslave our culture. And what makes matters worse is the fact that many of us don’t even realize that we’re worshiping false gods. -from Zealous

Other things on my mind...

  • Terrorism

  • Our closeness to God

  • How short life is - truly

  • Putting things in perspective


We took Christmas Down. Sigh. It's kind of bittersweet. Our home looks naked now. Well, not really... but it was a full day of cleaning and moving things back. Next weekend - time to tackle the playroom (much to my child'd dismay).

We all love babies. We crane our necks to see them be Baptized. We promise, with the parents and Godparents to pray for them, etc. We value our Baptismal Sacrament. But Our Lord, He is the ULTIMATE Sacrifice, born for us. No one was worthy to Baptize Him... but God allowed it so that He could live amongst us and give us HOPE! How much more should we celebrate our Lord's birth and Baptism?  I'm not saying if you don't, you are wrong. I'm saying it is part of the beauty of our Faith.

Also - I got a Young Living Essential Oil kit and I am so excited to learn more about them. I have so many friends that use them, I just can't deny their goodness any more.  If only we hadn't accidentally thrown away PEACE & CALM! Dear Lord... why???! lol I was a little frantic about it last night, but I ordered a replacement this morning and all should be well. Can you imagine?

In Our Kitchen...

Currently we are doing the Pantry Challenge. For the first time, my guys ARE really on board. I'm so excited. In the past, it's not been easy, because they were not on board.

This week, we had Marque's Birthday. Here are some pics from the occasion.

[caption id="attachment_5222" align="alignnone" width="500"]Mq bday compile Spaghetti & Giant Meatballs. Chocolate Cake. Birthday Boy![/caption]

To find out what we are eating this week, go here: Pantry Challenge, Week 2. Meanwhile, we have already changed our menu... my husband decided that Pot Pies were hard for a Monday, and I should just make chicken strips. We'll see. lol

Sunday, I baked Rye Bread. Today, Whole Grain White.  Yep, no bread buying because I need to use the flour and other stuff I have.

 In Our School...

Things are going well.  I sometimes feel like a failure. I sometimes think we rock. You know?

We are going back in Science and doing the experiments we've missed. No matter what, I'm working them in. This brings a smile to my student's face.. and that makes it worth it. In the below, we were studying water weight... hot water and cold water.

science experiment 1

Christopher is still learning to cook. We are also working on concentrating and getting work done on our own. And most importantly, this year, we are on schedule to finish within a week of Public School, so we are super excited.

Praying For...

  • Health...

    • my husband's especially.

  • Our lack of stick-to-it!

  • Finances

  • Families who suffer loss, especially those

    • who suffer terrorists.

    • where parents lose children.

  • Our World.

  • Our Pope and Clergy.

  • For more joy in the little things...

  • The softening of people's hearts!


Our daughter Nikki shared this picture of our Grandson Mason. We bought him this outfit while we were visiting. You see, Nannie said he could pick something out. AND he explained to me that he had an Iron Man Costume and a Thomas the Train... and that he needed a fireman outfit so that he could put water on the fire and rescue his mama and brother and Nana (who he lives with). How could I not buy it? The boy has a plan. She said that he's had it on for three days. HAHA

mason fire

Ok, I have to wrap up, because frankly I have stuff to do. Don't be jealous, but Monday is school, laundry and lots of other fun things like that...  Ahhh the glamour!

Today, I am linking up with:

Have a great day all.

Love, hugs & blessings,


Pantry Challenge - Week 2

JANUARY 11, 2015
"Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."
– St. Thomas Aquinas 

Happy Sunday All!

We are starting the 2nd week of our Pantry Challenge. AND things are going well.  We had a little more leftovers than we thought, so we froze some AND we moved things around on the menu. That's the benefit (I guess) of having a small family.

As I type this, rye bread is baking in my oven! I have been trying bread mixes from the Prepared Pantry. I love his stuff, but I prefer bread from scratch. His recipes are for bread-makers. And - since I am the bread maker... HAHAHA

If you are a blog reader of mine and you are participating, let me know so I can come check out your blog.

Also - Check out what Jessica is doing here: Pantry Challenge Update


  • Well, the organization of it all. I've baked bread and all kinds of things.  I mean, if you have what you need, you really can make it all last. It really helps to have EVERYTHING you have in your pantry/freezer written down. This is my first time doing this part in earnest, and it's paying off.

  • Trying new recipes.

  • Just having fun with it.

  • Having the whole family on-board. I've done this in the past, and gotten MEAGER acceptance and cooperation from my family. It's way better this time, because everyone is on board.


  • I had my husband pick up sugar (um, I really thought I had some) and ice cream. His birthday was Monday, and he wanted ice cream & cake.

  • I had to throw away some KEY spices that were years expired. So that is fun.  I'm making it work (thank you Internet).

  • We forgot we had a sitter for Saturday night, so we did not cancel. Instead, we enjoyed a movie and a night out. I had a side salad as part of my "keep the bill low" campaign. It was awesome!

  • This week, my goal is NO trips to the Store. And we aren't having a date night either.



  • Sunday (Tonight) – Tacos. Then the hubs will take taco salad for lunch tomorrow.

  • Monday  – Chicken Strips & Veggies

  • Tuesday – Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Wednesday – Breakfast for Dinner

  • Thursday – Sautéed veggies and pasta

  • Friday – Shrimp & Veggies

  • Saturday – Burgers

**In the interest of full disclosure, I changed my menu based on what I had.

Breakfasts: Last week I made some great French Toast Muffins (SO GOOD). This week, I had a bunch of blueberries, so I made both muffins and pancakes. So now, my guys have freezer choices.  There is also cereal, oatmeal, eggs & toast. And we have plenty of home-made jelly in reserve.


Lunches: Egg salad sandwiches. Tuna Sandwiches.Celery & peanut butter. Fruit.

Snacks: Fruit, veggies, popcorn. I have stopped buying SNACK FOOD for the most part. We just don't need it.

SPENDING -  We have spent less than $50 so far. We will need some produce and pet supplies towards the end of this week. And probably dairy too.

My Biggest Challenge is ... training my family! Now, if someone could train my guys to tell me when things get low, I'd be the happiest woman ever! HA!  Seriously, that is a challenge with just men in the house. I love them. But they leave things odd places and they don't communicate. I get a bunch of "oh, I thought I toldyas"... Sigh. God bless them.

Have a blessed week ya'll.

Love, Hugs & blessings,


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Try A New Recipe Tuesday...

God lavished love on those who didn’t deserve it. When we reflect on God’s choice of Jacob the cheater or David the adulterer, or on Jesus’ forgiveness of those who crucified Him, we begin to see that if God’s love extended to the likes of them, it surely extends to us.  ~ from St. Anthony Messenger

Happy Tuesday All!

Today is a cold day and our first day back from Christmas Break. It's also the Feast of the Epiphany in our beautiful Catholic Faith. I wish you a blessed day!

So naturally, this is our MONDAY! Our son had a nightmare of some sort and woke me up around 4am. I was already restless... and I'm kinda zombie-ish today. It really fits how I look, considering I had a precancerous spot frozen (burnt) off my forehead yesterday... it's red and bulbous. You're welcome for that visual. HA

Anyway - I am linking up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday.


I tried a new recipe this past Sunday as part of our Pantry Challenge. It's Leek & Potato Soup from the Good Cheap Eats Cookbook.

Soup is an easy thing to add to your meal plans - especially good for a large family and good for your budget (no matter what size family).

Plus, you know me, the pantry challenge is about using what you have... and I did not have veggie broth, so I used chicken broth.... and for my dear husband, I added ham. I will say the heavy cream or half & half makes it a little rich. But it was good.  We added cheese on top, while in the bowls. It was a perfect Winter's Sunday dinner.

[caption id="attachment_5200" align="alignnone" width="500"]IMG_2957 After emulsifying... simmering Leek & Potato soup.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_5201" align="alignnone" width="500"]IMG_2958 YUMMY Leek & Potato Soup in a bowl.... with cheese on top![/caption]

I hope you will check out Recipe Page on Good Cheap Eats. So many fantastic and budget/friendly recipes and great advice. And no, she doesn't PAY me to say these things. I love many recipe sites. She's in my top five... maybe top two...

[caption id="attachment_5202" align="alignnone" width="410"]IMG_2961 This is from Good Cheap Eats new cookbook of the same name.[/caption]

i am not sure of the legality of posting this recipe. So if I have to take it down, I will add links to similar ones. This is a pretty new cookbook.

Love, Hugs & Blessings,




Sunday, January 4, 2015

Let The Pantry Challenge Begin...

Filled with the Holy Spirit, St. Francis was constantly joyful. Because of this, his words touched people’s hearts. Living peacefully requires that we recognize outright lies and seductive half-truths that we encounter. What we watch on TV and other forms of entertainment, or how we use social media can build up or tear down peace. ~ from Peace and Good

Happy Happy Sunday All.

Today in the Catholic Church, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Holy Epiphany (which is actually January 6th). However, the Church Calendar now allows for it to be celebrated on whichever Sunday falls between January 2nd and 8th. As a convert, I don't understand why it can't just be celebrated on the day. I am pretty sure it is ONLY in America that these allowances are made. Sure makes for confusion. LOL It is a beautiful feast to celebrate for sure.

I missed Mass as I hadn't been in a week because of the flu and such. It felt so good to be there. We did the Rosary. Our Church is so beautiful. Sigh! So happy to be there.

Real quick, here are a couple of pictures from New Year's Morning. We went nowhere.



I may or may not have told you all about the Pantry Challenge. I've done it for years... but this year, I went ALL OUT am doing it the right way! Yep. Here are a few of Jessica's Post where she explains how it all works. And - FYI, Jessica is the lady behind Good Cheap Eats AND Life As Mom!

As part of the first step of preparation... We needed to assess what we have. We spent the last few days (not all day, but here and there) going through our freezers/fridge/pantry. I am astonished to tell you that spices do expire. OK, I knew they did, but not so quickly. Oh and if you buy a lot from Bob's Red Mill and other great places that sell fresh things, bother to read the bags... you know, in case you are supposed to freeze or refrigerate the item. You do not want to know the amount of things I had to toss. At least $100 or so worth of spices and dry goods. AACK!


The Above Sheet is here: Inventory - Pantry and Freezer Sheet1.  It represents what we have in the Freezer/Pantry.  On my sheet, I've written the number, so I can keep track. I honestly think we have enough food (not dairy) to last through mid-Feb. Maybe longer. lol

[caption id="attachment_5194" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0339 Kitchen Freezer/Fridge[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5191" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0342 Garage Freezer[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5193" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0340 First Pantry Shot[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5192" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0341 2nd Pantry Shot[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5195" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_0324 Um. My husband brought back eight cases of beer from our trip. He knew we were doing a Pantry Challenge...[/caption]

I thought ya'll would get a kick out of the last one.

Ok - so, After you assess what you have, then comes the meal plan and the plan for prep work.

I am only going to post about this on Sundays... because i have other things to blog about. BUT if you want daily doses of it, Jessica @ Good Cheap Eats, is blogging about it daily! I shared a few links above.

My (Our) Goals Are:

  • Use what we have. I am going to paint and paper our pantry in the Spring (don't tell Marque. HA).

  • Not spend $$. Um, we seriously spent to much over the holidays.

  • Get a better handle (again) on our grocery budget.

  • Have fun.

My (Our) Dinner MealPlan this Week is:

  • Sunday (Tonight) - Leek & Potato Soup from The Good Cheap Eats Cook Book. I embellished it... I had no veggie broth, so I used chicken broth. And my husband wanted meat in it, so I used ham. It really is so good.

  • Monday (Marque's Birthday) - Spaghetti & Meatballs and Salad! AND Chocolate Cake.

  • Tuesday -  Mushroom/Chicken Bake. This is so good.

  • Wednesday - Leftovers

  • Thursday - Sautéed veggies and pasta

  • Friday - Cod Tacos

  • Saturday - Chicken Pot Pies

For breakfasts, we will make things like oatmeal, pancakes, egg wraps, muffins, etc. For lunches, we will have soups, sandwiches or salads. Sometimes it is all about finger foods.

I hope some of you will join me (us). This is the first day. So join right in.

Have a great week. Today is Birthday Eve for Marque, so we are going to watch Downton Abby later.

Love, hugs & Many Blessings,


Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year's Resolutions? NOPE... not really!

Only a spirit of expropriation, recognizing everything as a gift from God, enables a person to live in the deepest truth about his or her life. Joy naturally follows when a person lives in such a truth. ~ from Peace and Good

Happy Saturday All!

I hope your day is great.  I promised my husband a lazy few days and we are enjoying them. At some point I'll edit the 300+ photos from our Christmas Trip. Marque got me a newer version of the Canon Rebel Camera and I need to learn how to use it. But one of my cousin's husband's grown children took a bunch of fun and random Christmas shots. So - I'll post some soon.

That said - I wanted to share that my husband will be 55 on Monday.I am so blessed with my choice of husbands. Thank you God! AND - He's so excited to be 55. HA Free stuff baby! He cracks me up.  Oh and for you folks aged 50+, check out this site: Boomer Places.

We are going to an Epiphany Party tonight. Yay.  They are serving Mediterranean Food and I have to think of what to bring. How fun is that?!

And now, on with my post...

About Resolutions...

Every year people post lots of resolutions. Some, I'm sure, they intend to do. Some, I'm sure, to impress others.  And these people don't often change. I say this assuredly because I've done it. I don't mean to. But I have decided, in my 51st year, to be more honest with myself and that means being honest about what I can accomplish, so that at the end of the year I am not left feeling "less than" for not accomplishing the 50-million things I thought I needed to in order to meet everyone else's expectations. I hope that makes sense.

I wrote this in the Veiling Group on FaceBook:
I am not sharing resolutions... because I just frankly think sometimes it's ok to keep things to myself. But I do have a few hopes... that people can find happiness, look for the silver lining.... love more and make the world a better place. We need to stop complaining so much. We need to do what we are supposed to do. We need a backbone, but also compassion, respect and love... Tell me - what are your thoughts as this year starts? My word for this year - determined.

I do have a few goals. but I am really just concentrating on being a better version of myself. I'm a pretty good person, flaws and all. And It's ok. I just am hard on myself, by nature, and I don't want to say I'm going to do 50 things and only really do well at 10. You know?

Anyhooo...  whether you are Catholic or not, I think you should read up on what the Pope said, According to this article,

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Francis met before Christmas with Vatican employees, mostly lay people with families, he asked them to do 10 things. The list sounded remarkably like suggestions for New Year’s resolutions:

– “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

– “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”

– “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”

– “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”

– “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”

– “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

– “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”

– “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”

– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”

How nice would the world be if we could all just be better people?  Listen, I would never discourage anyone from being a better person. So if you need to make resolutions and that is how you make changes, go for it.

I'm just saying my changes this year are going to be about me. Not about you or anyone else... and they aren't for sharing because they are personal.  If I had to share goals... In our home, we plan to continue to work on the things above. We are good at many of them... and there are several I/we need to work on.

You'd be surprised if I told you, sadly, that I tend to drop the F-bomb when I get REALLY upset.  It is both shocking and vulgar... and needs to stop. But no amount of blogging about it will work. It's the year for digging deep within ME... DETERMINED!

Have a great rest of your Saturday! And thanks for stopping by!

Love & Hugs,


Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Quick Takes, Not A Normal Holiday & Happy New Year...

As we start this new year, let us look for ways in which our hearts are still proud, or areas where we are called to be merciful or forgive others. Today is also a day of prayer for peace in the world; perhaps there is an opportunity to evangelize by reaching out, forgiving, and reconciling with members of our family or our friends. ~ from Let Us Adore Him

Happy New Year Ladies & Gents. I hope and pray your Christmas Season has been great. Ours was odd... for so many reasons. Nothing felt right. It was kinda a bummer. lol Many good parts, but much that I won't ever put into cyberspace.   And now we are looking forward to the new year. So many possibilities... 

This past year, our word was Health. We worked on it, but really need to do more.

This year's word is DETERMINED! Here is the definition:

  • having a strong feeling that you are going to do something and that you will not allow anyone or anything to stop you

  • not weak or uncertain

  • having or showing determination to do something

We are going to apply this to everything.  Purposing to do the right things. Purposing to do what is best for our family. DETERMINED!


Kelly @ This Ain't The Lyceum has started what looks to me to be a more intimate "7 Quick Takes" link up. I l love Jen @ The Conversion Diary, but it's too big of a link-up for me. I tend to hang in smaller crowds.  I am linking up with Kelly & Folks (thanks Tracy, clearly I'm copying you because I read it at your blog).

I actually had about half a blog post done. But I couldn't find anything MEANINGFUL/Happy to say. Nodding to the Virtue of Prudence, I thought better of the post and scrapped it. Then I started clicking around...and I realized many of us are struggling to be happy. So many have the flu or are sick.

This Christmas Season has just been odd... how do I count the ways?

We traveled. This is not the abnormal part. Typically, we go one place and come home. This year, we went to Houston and then left early the 26th to go to TN. So we didn't really have "our Christmas".

1. No gift Exchange for our immediate Family. We had this great idea to leave everything here and have a  friend put it out for when we came home. But the little guy, even though he was a good sport, he was kind of disappointed, and really so were we. But we didn't want to have to haul it all to TN with us.

2. No Faith. Ok - sure my family are Christians. But they are not Catholic. And they kinda mock Catholicism. So - it's odd. This year we failed Epically. Did not go to Christmas Mass. BOO. I mean we leave our house, where we are doing daily Advent Reading and such, and then NOTHING. It was odd. I have to fix this for next year.

3. Unorganized me. The past couple years, no matter how I've tried, I'm just so unorganized... TO ME. Other people think I am organized, but for me - it's a lot of Epic Failure... Truly! Christmas Cards. I had the images colored, but then I decided it would be quicker to buy. But then I got the flu, so only half went out. We were delayed on our trip... and that set a sense of "being behind" the whole trip! lol Anywhooo... the other half of the cards went out on the 31st.

4. Traveling... Specifically Across the U.S. We love to travel, but I think traveling at the holidays, for us, staying in impersonal hotels (even if they do have heated pools) and eating out a lot is just not for us. I won't complain. It's totally a first world problem. But you'll forgive me for feeling it odd.

5. A Few High Points. Cooking for my family. For me, it's like they finally realize I am capable. I'm not sure if they actually think that anyway - but you know, it felt like we were really ADULTS! lol Seeing my cousins and family in Texas. Tamale Night. Farmer's Market. Our Old Family Home.  Seeing and cuddling with our grand babies and Marque's daughter. Visiting my cousin Brenda and her husband Quen. Quen is in the late stages of Cancer. Please pray for peace and pain-free moments. We are so thankful we got to see him.

6. Illness.  I am telling you the flu kept us from seeing so many people. Sigh. I had it before we left. I didn't see a few cousins and folks because of it either. BOO! And the sheer number of friends who spent Christmas and/or New Year's in Bed... WOW! Praying for recovery and a healthier year for all.

6.5. Bad Luck @ Restaurants. The hotel coffee was awful.   Starbucks was so crowded we couldn't ever get into it (the entire time we were in TN). We found a Mexican Restaurant in Clarksville, TN. 4+ Stars on Yelp. Ya'll it was the worst food EVER!! No seriously, the guacamole had not one onion or tomato. The waiter did not know what Menudo is. AND the red sauce was, I kid you not, Tomato soup. Truth!  HAHAHA Don't eat at Canela Mexican Grille! I mean - not if you want real Mexican food. Taco Bell is better.

But then, the rest of the drive back was along the theme of "if it can go wrong...". SERIOUSLY! We drove thirty minutes to go to the Loveless Cafe (worth it)... but there was an almost two-hour wait. So then we drove up the road to a Denny's. We sat for 45 minutes and only had our drinks. By now, it's after 1pm and we still have ten hours to drive. Can you imagine? So I say to Marque, "I'm going potty. When I get back if our food is not here, we are out!" Keep in mind there were like five tables full of customers and there were about 40 tables. So Marque tells the waiter, look, we can't wait anymore. They gave him grief... and p.s. they had not even started cooking yet.  Epic Fail #1bazillion... we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, for honestly the best coffee we'd had. We had coffee and donuts. Then about five hours later, finally fed the boy Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Just to balance it out, please eat at the Log Cabin in Dover, TN. Everything there was good! Sigh. YAY for the positives!

7. New Years Eve. Ok - so here is how our NYE went. Went to bed about 1am due to travel. Woke up and started laundry. Christopher and I went to Honey Baked Ham and then to Kroger. Oh My Goodness. We did not get home till about 5pm. In the meantime, Marque was home cleaning... and doing laundry. We were all cranky and blah... and we negatived in the new year. lol We tried to have fun. We just were not into it. You know? BLAH.

Then we rallied on New Year's Day.  Except for the fact that everything was iced over and we did not go to Mass. Sigh... We had a family meeting and we have a family mission statement.

Good things are going to happen in 2015.  Here are a few that already have happened...

1) Yesterday, our friends brought the BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER HAD for desert. You must try it. It's Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods. I found an online recipe and will bake it soon... and if it turns out well, I will share it with you. There are berries and the most fantabulous icing EVER!


2) The Dip Ad-Lib. I thought we had Raspberry Chipoltle Sauce to pour over cream cheese and eat with Wheat Thins.  But I didn't. So I thought, surely I have enough crap here to make a dip. And so I mixed Ginger Sesame Dressing (Target) and Boar's Head Delicatessen Style Mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. And people, it was really good!

3) A Blogging 101 Class:  I am going to learn how to be a better blogger. GO ME!

4) Pantry Challenge @ Good Cheap Eats! I am so looking forward to this!

Of course, I am so thankful for so many things. I'm grateful and humbled by Mary @ Passionate Perseverance. I'm honored to know Chris @ Campfire & Cleats.  I could go on and on about the great people, places and things in my life.

picture collage

I'm most thankful for a forgiving God and for a chance to make this year the best ever... no matter how it ended or began.

my weekinreview

I also linked up with Lisa @ HometoFourKiddos for My Week in Review.

If you read this whole post - Thanks.

I'm totally babbling.

More babble tomorrow.

Love & Hugs,